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CO2 Incubator

What is a CO2 incubator and why do you need a CO2 detector?

What is a CO2 incubator?

Laboratory incubators are often divided into two main markets, those that operate using gas and ungassed incubators which are also known as microbiological incubators.  Incubators in general are used to grow and maintain cell cultures with carbon dioxide gas used as a control over variables including temperature, humidity and pH levels.

CO2 incubators are designed to replicate a cell’s natural environment and are most commonly used in biology labs performing tissue or cell cultivation. CO2 is used to maintain an atmosphere, often for days or weeks at a time, or to increase growth depending on what the desired outcome is. The level of carbon dioxide gas is generally measured up to around 5% but this will vary depending on the application.

CO2 incubators often have sensors built into the system so levels can be constantly monitored throughout the process. Lab technicians, cell biologists or embryologists will change the levels of CO2 on a regular basis depending on the results they want to achieve, that’s why it’s critical that process monitoring of the gas is carried out, but why do you need to think about personal safety as well?


Why do you need a CO2 detector?

Facilities which use CO2 in their incubators and other processes, often store the gas cylinders on site and transport it using a piped network. Storing large amounts of CO2 gas on premises can quickly become lethal health hazard if a leak occurs.

Just a small increase of 0.5% can start to have an effect on the human body. Those working in the laboratory for a full day often over an eight hour period, will need to be protected by the TWA (Time-Weighted-Average) CO2 level, which is mandated to be monitored by worldwide workplace safety standards including EH40 and OSHA.

Installing a fixed CO2 detector will ensure that your laboratory and those that work in it, including any part time staff or students are safe from potential leaks of CO2. Remember exposure to CO2 can be lethal and at around 5% CO2 gas can cause shortness of breath, confusion and dizziness, if the levels increase further, those exposed can experience unconsciousness and ultimately death.


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Also consider the option of using a personal CO2 alarm for any employees who are working within different areas as a backup to a main fixed unit, or to ensure they are fully protected at all times, regardless if there is a fixed monitor or not.

It’s essential that all staff are trained and educated on the dangers of working with CO2 incubators and the potential risks a leak can cause in a laboratory environment.

If you would like any more information on the dangers of CO2, or products which can help reduce the risks, please just get in contact with us on +44(0)1642711400 or (714) 891 4478 or email info@analox.biz.


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Posted in Gas Dangers, Laboratory

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